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How to Make a Power of Attorney in Minnesota FAQ

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Jordan Walker, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 16, 2024

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When you are unable to handle your financial or personal affairs due to a disability or incapacity, a power of attorney can help. Learn how you can name an attorney in fact to act for you and how to create a valid Minnesota power of attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

There are different types of power of attorney documents. A financial power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you as the “principal” to grant someone you trust, your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact,” the authority to act on your behalf in financial and legal matters.

In Minnesota, you make a health care directive to appoint someone as your health care agent to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so.

There are many times when a power of attorney is helpful, such as if you are out of town or critical if you have a sudden incapacity. If you don’t have a power of attorney and can’t manage your affairs, your family has to petition a court for a conservator to step in and act on your behalf. A power of attorney avoids the need for a conservatorship.

Who Can Be My Attorney in Fact?

Any competent adult, 18 or older, may serve as your attorney in fact. You can select a family member, friend, attorney, or accountant. There are many things to consider when choosing an attorney in fact such as if they are trustworthy, organized, and responsible. An attorney in fact has broad authority over a principal’s property and assets. Still, they have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and the best interest of the principal.

Naming co-attorneys in fact is confusing because they must either act jointly or independently. If they act jointly, what if they disagree? If they act independently, what if they contradict each other? It is better to name someone as your primary attorney in fact with a backup or successor attorney in fact in the event first choice is unavailable.

What Can My Attorney in Fact Do in Minnesota?

You control the authority you want your attorney in fact to have. In §523.24 of the Minnesota Statutes, you can grant your attorney in fact general authority to handle the following:

  • Real property transactions (buying, selling, or leasing real estate)
  • Tangible personal property transactions (buying, selling, or maintaining personal possessions)
  • Bond, share, and commodity transactions
  • Banking transactions
  • Business operating transactions
  • Insurance transactions
  • Beneficiary transactions
  • Gift transactions
  • Fiduciary transactions
  • Claims and litigation
  • Family maintenance
  • Benefits from military service
  • Records, reports, and statements

Carefully consider what authority you want to give your attorney in fact because they control your property and assets. You can also place limitations on your power of attorney, such as restricting gifts to themselves or anyone they have a legal obligation to support.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Minnesota?

durable power of attorney remains effective even when the principal becomes incapacitated. Under §523.07, a power of attorney is durable if it includes language such as, “This power of attorney shall not be affected by incapacity or incompetence of the principal” or “This power of attorney shall become effective upon the incapacity or incompetence of the principal.”

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

Generally, a Minnesota power of attorney is effective immediately upon execution unless you specify in your document a different effective date or contingent event, such as upon an incapacity.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

You may revoke your power of attorney at any time if you are competent. However, there are other events when your power of attorney terminates, such as:

  • Death of the principal
  • Incapacity of the principal if the POA is non-durable
  • The expiration of the termination date specified in the POA
  • Commencement of dissolution, separation, or annulment of principal’s marriage if the principal’s attorney in fact is their spouse

Additionally, if your attorney in fact is unwilling or unable to serve and you do not have a backup or successor to the attorney in fact, the power of attorney ends.

Does Minnesota Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

Yes. Minnesota has a statutory power of attorney form found in §523.23 of the Minnesota Statutes. However, you do not have to use this form as it has some limitations. You can create your own power of attorney customized to your situation or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Minnesota?

Yes. There are certain things to know before making a financial power of attorney, such as who you want as your attorney in fact and what powers you want to grant. Many people use do-it-yourself solutions with online estate planning forms. Check that the forms comply with Minnesota statutes. But if you have questions about your powers of attorney, reach out to an estate planning attorney for legal advice.

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How Do I Make My Power of Attorney Valid in Minnesota?

You must be 18 or older, competent, and your power of attorney must be in writing. You must sign the power of attorney and have a notary public attest to your signature if you grant real estate transaction powers to your attorney in fact.

Do I Have to Notarize My Power of Attorney in Minnesota?

Notarization is not mandatory for a POA in Minnesota unless it grants real property transaction powers. If it does, then you’re required to sign in front of a notary as per Minnesota Statute § 523.05.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After signing a POA in Minnesota, you should provide copies to your agent and any institutions or parties they will interact with; you may also record it if it involves real estate.

Some parties, such as a bank or financial institution, require an agent certification form in which your attorney in fact certifies that your power of attorney is effective, and they are authorized to serve as your attorney in fact.

Does an Attorney in Fact Get Paid in Minnesota?

Your attorney-in-fact may receive reimbursement of reasonable expenses for actions under your power of attorney. They may also receive reasonable compensation for their time unless you specify otherwise in your power of attorney.

Is My Minnesota Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Generally, other states will honor a power of attorney in Minnesota that is created and executed according to Minnesota’s laws.

Can I Revoke My Minnesota Power of Attorney?

Yes. If you are competent, you can revoke your power of attorney document and your attorney in fact’s authority at any time. To revoke, make a written statement of revocation to give to your attorney in fact and all parties with the original POA. Destroy your original power of attorney and any copies.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Minnesota?

A power of attorney is critical when you are incapacitated and can’t handle your legal and financial matters. It is also convenient if you must be out of town or out of the country. There are two other legal documents to consider for a complete estate plan: a health care directive and a last will and testament after your death.

health care directive combines a medical power of attorney with a living will. You name a health care agent to access your medical records and handle your healthcare decisions when you can’t. In your directive, you can specify what life-prolonging measures you want provided or withheld when you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition.

last will and testament, gives instructions after your death for who you want to manage your estate (your personal representative), receive your property (your beneficiaries), and care for your minor children (a guardian). If you do not have a will, called “dying intestate,” a probate court must sort it out for you. Having a will streamlines probate, and you are in control of your own decisions about your estate and family.

Fortunately, using online estate planning templates to create a valid power of attorney and other Minnesota estate planning documents is easy.

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